When it comes to starting and running a business, most first-time CEOs don’t have all the knowledge or tools they need to be successful.
Even if your parents, siblings, friends, or mentors have started companies, everyone has their own journey to entrepreneurship. What may have worked for someone else won’t necessarily be what brings success to your company.
Essentially, you’re starting from scratch. But here are some lessons that have helped many first time entrepreneurs take their companies from ideas sketched out on a napkin to full-fledged successful businesses.
Failure is Essential
Failure is a vital part of the journey of any entrepreneur, and even though we may all know it, we still feel discouraged when it happens.
Yet, without these moments that feel like the end of the world, we wouldn’t be able to learn from them and use them to make better decisions in the future.
At the start of Tantus Tech, we lost out on countless contracts. At first, it felt hopeless, like we would never get our foot in the door and show government agencies that we could improve their internal systems. As time went on, we looked at the proposals we were sending, made changes, and were able to start scaling our business.
It’s important to not fear failure, but to embrace it, learn from it, and use it as a stepping stone towards success.
Have a Solid Business Plan
Businesses start with a dream, that’s true. But dreams don’t secure multi-million dollar contracts with the government.
Business plans are the roadmap your company needs to outline your goals, strategies, and the steps you need to take to achieve them. When we built our business plan, we went from throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, to making better decisions and having more efficient operations.
Before starting your business, take the time to create a comprehensive business plan.
You Can’t Do It All Yourself
There are exceptions to every rule, but our company is what it is because of all the people who are passionate about our success.
By hiring talented team members to take on the roles you can’t, and stepping back to let them use their skills, your company will benefit greatly.
Starting a business is a team effort, so it’s important to get the right people on board. Look for those who share your vision, values, and work ethic — and surround yourself with people who challenge, inspire, and support you.
Stay Agile and Adaptable
Starting a business requires you to be flexible and willing to pivot when needed. Be prepared to adjust your strategies and tactics as you learn more about your business and your customers.
As a government contractor, we make an effort to stay up to date with the latest technology trends, bills that are being considered in congress, and other news to be able to innovate as needed.
Starting a business is not easy. There will be days when you feel like giving up.
By staying focused on your goals, you too will be able to push through the noise to attain them.
There have been plenty of roadblocks and “no’s” and compliance updates that needed to be navigated along the way, but by being persistent — and asking for help when needed — we found the success we were looking for.
Start Your Journey Towards Entrepreneurship
Starting a business is both an incredibly challenging and unbelievably rewarding experience. By being prepared for what’s to come, and listening to those who have come before, future CEOs can pave their own way toward success — and one day, be able to give their own advice to the next generation of entrepreneurs.